Writing and Music

5 Ways to Spot a Southern Gentleman

One of my most liked posts.

Tina Bausinger


My Southern gentlemen: That’s Paul on the left. He’s already taken by the lovely lady (Q) on the right, so back off ladies. Hubby is the last on the left and Carl (also taken) is right across from him. The rest of the boys (Noah, Sam and Nate (aka Mancub) are Southern gentlemen in the making, folks.

I’ve lived in the South most of my life, and always consider myself a Southerner. When we moved from Arkansas to Texas, nothing shocked me as much as the name-calling that occurred on my first day on the job.
After being chided about my accent someone even called me a “Yankee.” WHAAAAAT?

Disclaimer: For any of you who align yourselves with Yankees, I want to say that I have nothing against you. There’s no reason why Southerners and Yankees can’t just get along. We’re all Americans, are we not? (Insert the Star Spangled Banner…

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3 Things You Should Never Say to Your Son

Raising responsible, kind men is a daunting task. Sometime as a mom I am tempted to “help” my son by giving him what I believe is constructive criticism, but, shocker of shockers, he may just view my sage advice as plain criticism/nagging!

We see our sons as diamonds in the rough (emphasis on rough) that we have been charged to polish to a shine. For example, I see a report card full of A’s and immediately notice the one B. Why? How short-sided of me.

Polishing is painful. There’s friction, and it’s always one-sided. It’s painful to be the one who is being polished, rubbed and broken.

I believe that as good moms we need to walk that fine line between helping and being too harsh. Avoid saying these 3 things as a start when working with your own diamond.

1. You’re lazy. Here’s the kicker: he might very well be lazy, but to say these words is a negative reinforcement and may turn into a voice in his head for the rest of his life. Instead, try to notice when he shows interest in a chore or skill praise it. For example, my son doesn’t like to do dishes, in fact he will avoid dishes at all costs. He’d rather walk though Hello Kitty World dressed as Hello Kitty. But, he loved the experience of washing jars and helping with home canning! I know! Super weird. So I jumped on that and we spent several pleasant hours together making the best salsa known to man. If you don’t think so, you can just come to Tyler and tell me to my FACE.

2. You can’t do this! It’s too much for you. Maybe your kid is taking on too much. I’m not saying to not be your son’s buffer, but he needs to learn a bit of stress.Another unpleasant aspect of diamond making is intense heat. Melt your eyebrows kind of heat. Uncomfortable, unbearable, chemical-changing heat. If he never encounters heat because we’re so protective, how will he know what to do when he’s in college and you’re not there to shield him? Let him try to find the balance between school, work, church, activities, and girls. Do give him advice and stop him if he’s going off the rails. But let him feel the heat. It’s good for him.

3. Your girlfriend is a !@#!. Ok this is a tough one. We must guide without criticism, which is so difficult. One way to help him without verbally assaulting someone’s daughter, is to do your best to model the kind of woman you would like your son to find. Ouch. And just to be clear, I don’t mean anything Norman Batesesque. Whether or not you realize it, you are the standard, for good or bad. Luckily for me, I adore Mancub’s girl, but not every mama is as lucky.

Good luck, Mama. Remember that Jesus is the master diamond maker and ultimately has the final say, so trust Him with your diamond-to-be. And oh, how lovely the Son reflects from your son’s facets. Every.Single.One.


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Just one of those parenting days…

Preach it, sister!

all things messy...

crazy housewife Photo courtesy of reallifetravels.com

Hello friends!  So ya, it’s for sure one of those parenting days when I start to question why God even wanted us to have offspring.  And even if He wanted us to have them, why did I want them myself?  They insist on eating 3 times a day.  They never take into consideration how brilliant you are when you give them advice.  They can’t read the look on your face to know when you’ve had ENOUGH.  Think of how much easier life would be without having to tell little crazy people what to do all day long??  Seriously, I have repeated myself so much over the last 20 years that I should get some kind of “most repeated statements in a lifetime” award (synonymous with getting the “she has totally lost her marbles” award).  Insert crazy scream/cry here.

My most commonly repeated phrases are:

  • Brush your…

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War Eagle Women: It’s All About the Secrets

Name a Gothic novel without secrets. You can’t. Secrets are the core of all things Gothic.
I take that back. Secrets that refuse to be kept are the core of all things Gothic. And Southern Gothic? Of course! Even more so.
With perhaps the bloodiest non-war history of any other section of our country. I think the number one reason why the Gothic fits so well here is the history and geography both.

Think of the Old South. What do you see? Plantations in ruin, people starving, many homeless…especially those who had received their freedom from slavery–and very little else. The soil itself cries tears of blood straining to keep its past and present crimes a mystery.

But secrets are funny things. They are stubborn and unruly and don’t like to be kept. Especially in the deep mountains of Arkansas where few people have trod. Especially in the hidden caves next to the wild river. Especially, in the heart of a girl.

War a Eagle Women is now available in print.


It’s Southern Gothic–Steel Magnolias, Heaven and Fried Green Tomatoes all rolled into one. How can one secret affect four generations of women? By refusing to be kept.


What scares you about writing a book? A short survey

What Are You Afraid Of? A Survey of Fear

These lawn statues creep me out.

These lawn statues creep me out.

It’s October–the month we celebrate Halloween. The holiday itself has a complicated history, but it all boils down to this: we try to convince ourselves we are fearless. We, the adults, have outgrown our phobias of the Monster Under the Bed. We watch movies about vampires, ghosts, and demons who would possess us with the nonchalance of a toddler picking his nose. We’re grownups, right? We’re the ones in charge. What do we have to be afraid of?

Of all the foundations of the shifting genre of Gothic, there’s one that never moves except to reflect the fears of the current generation. Tropes of the Gothic are celebrated on Halloween in full force, but if one pays attention the overall theme of this genre is fear of loss of control.  Loss of control manifests in either physical or emotional entrapment or confinement. This is why in horror movies, the pretty girl is tied up in the basement, buried alive, or chased through the darkness by someone who means her harm. She is at the mercy of someone or something else. This motif rarely changes much in horror movies; it merely mutates to a different form.

Why are zombie movies so popular? It’s the same theme, only flipped. The dead/undead. Life/not life. As an advanced society, we have such powerful medical technology we can keep one who was meant to die alive indefinitely. What is a zombie but someone who is dead but unaware? Think life support keeping stroke victims technically alive when there is no brain activity. Life/not life.

There is another side of horror which Julia Kristeva calls the Abject.

There looms, within abjection, one of those violent, dark revolts of being, directed against a threat that seems to emanate from an exorbitant outside or inside, ejected beyond the scope of the possible, the tolerable, the thinkable…The abject has only one quality of the object–that of being opposed to I (Kristeva 1). 

Kristeva further explains one characteristic of the Abject as being something that spreads, defiles, consumes. We must stop it in its tracks, lest the innocents be corrupted and lost.

I asked a question on Facebook: What are you afraid of? What is your deepest fear?

Many people replied with known phobias such as being afraid of snakes, spiders, taxidermy, claustrophobia, etc. Some delved a bit further under the surface and admitted to more personal psychological terrors. Here are the 5 top fears I found among teenagers and adults. It’s a basic fear of loss of control.

1. The fear of failing as a parent. I don’t know a decent mom who doesn’t lose sleep regarding her parenting decisions. More than that, we moms obsess about the example we share with our kids. Nothing hurts more than to see your child making the same mistakes you’ve made, with the same repercussions. We as moms blame ourselves for every bad thing that happens to our kids, whether it’s our fault or not.

Be gentle with yourself, dear Mama. Even if we are doing our best, we can’t help being human. As such, we are hopelessly flawed, and it’s almost a cosmic joke that our kids show us in living color every bad trait we ourselves exhibit.

2. The fear of failure. This is a big one that never seems to go away; rather it transforms as we grow into adulthood. As a high school student, we might be afraid of failing school, not making the team, not getting the attention of our crush, and for type A’s, not making the grade. It doesn’t go away as we grow into adults. Now, we fear failing as a parent, failing in our marriage, letting down our boss, our spouse, our children, the list goes on and on.

3. The fear of being forgotten. I’m pretty sure this one haunts everyone. What legacy are we leaving? Are we making a difference? What will our spouses, parents, children, families, friends….the world… remember about us when we are gone? What have we done of substance that will remain after our passing? For parents, this one really resonates within our hearts, because our hope is that our children will be our legacy, but also that we have made some kind of ripple in the pond.

4. The fear of loss. This one is the director of my nightmares. I’ve lost my father and both grandmothers, but there’s a tiny, ever-present terror of being left when my husband dies. Even greater is the terror of losing a child. If anything were to happen to one of my kids, I’m not certain I would survive emotionally. For those of you who have experienced this heartbreaking experience, my heart goes out to you.

5.The fear of dying and leaving our lives unfinished. This encapsulates a combination of the other four fears, conglomerating into a monster of a fear that keeps us up at night. We don’t want to die before we’ve finished that novel, seen our kids go to college, held our first grandchild. Even more scary is the idea of dying and leaving our children left behind to be raised by someone else. This fear takes on a new dimension for single parents who fear their children being put into the hands of people we don’t trust, whether it’s a crazy mother-in-law or a lazy ex-husband. In essence, our fears can be boiled down to the loss of  two subjects: time and control.

So tell me now, what are you really afraid of?


Work Cited:

Kristeva, Julia, and Leon S. Roudiez. Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection. New York: Columbia UP, 1982. Print.